Science helps avoid bad compassion

Bad compassion

In a candid discussion with reporters on September 23, Pope Francis warned against what he termed bad compassion.

Francis defined bad compassion as the law not to let the child grow in the mother’s womb or the law of euthanasia in disease and old age.”

Clarifying, he added “I am not saying it is a faith thing, but it is a human thing.”

Francis remained adamant that life should not be toyed with “either at its inception or its conclusion.”

The Pope’s remarks came as he was en route from Marseille to Rome, following a two-day visit to the southern French city.

France on verge of legalising assisted suicide

Francis’ comments were made against a background that France is on the cusp of potentially legalising assisted suicide and euthanasia through a contentious legislative proposal.

The parliamentary vote on the matter was been deferred to September 26-28, coincidentally following the Pope’s visit to the country.

While Francis did not discuss euthanasia directly with French President Emmanuel Macron during their recent meeting, he emphasised that he had made his stance “unambiguously clear” during Macron’s visit to the Vatican last year.

Belgian model

Macron, who had pledged to reform end-of-life care as part of his election campaign, expressed his inclination towards the Belgian model of euthanasia in April 2022.

The Belgian model of ‘integral’ end-of-life care consists of universal access to palliative care and legally regulated euthanasia.

It was legalised in Belgium in 2002, and permits euthanasia for adults and minors in exceptional cases.

In the ensuing years, euthanasia choice in Belgium has become more liberal.

Earlier this year, a 56-year-old Belgian mother who murdered her five children was euthanised at her own request.

In 2020, the Vatican stripped 15 of the Belgian Brothers of Charity psychiatric institutions of their Catholic status because euthanasia was permitted on their premises.

Advances in pain manaagement

During the course of the plane interview, Pope Francis highlighted the advancements in medical science that allow for effective pain management, reiterating his belief that life is sacrosanct and should not be trifled with.

On May 13, during the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, he lamented the legalisation of euthanasia in Portugal, describing it as “a law that sanctions killing.”

Pope Francis has consistently advocated for palliative care as a humane approach to treating those with severe illnesses, stating that while it is essential to accompany people towards the end of their lives, it is not ethical to hasten their death or assist in their suicide.

He has been equally forthright on the topic of abortion, likening it back in 2018 to contracting a “hitman” to dispose of an inconvenient individual.


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